Photo Gallery | Aiello's Restaurant in Lee
LEE — After a five-month hiatus, a breakfast and lunch eatery has re-opened at 87 Main St. that is building on the prosperity of its predecessor.
Since opening Feb. 7, Aiello's has shown initial success by drawing many of the customers that frequented Otto's before it closed in late August, according to owner Stephanie Aiello.
"They all came right back," she said. "I was a little nervous about starting up in February, but it's turned out great."
Aiello has 10 years of food service experience, but at the urging of both her former employer and her husband, she decided to become the boss. The Pittsfield woman invested $50,000 to buy the former Otto's from Paul and Dawn Face and do minimal renovations.
"It was pretty much turnkey," she said. "This was a perfect opportunity for me and I love being in Lee."
Aiello had been manager of the Otto's in Pittsfield before the Faces sold that Park Square location to Luke Marion. Aiello then went to work for the Faces at Salmon Run Fish House in Lee, across from the original Otto's that opened in the spring of 2011. The Faces closed both Otto's to focus solely on Salmon Run, a fixture in downtown Lee for nearly 17 years.
"Paul and I had several conversations about opening my own place and I decided to do it," Aiello said. "This has been a dream of mine for years."
The Pittsfield native also received the green light from her spouse, Corey Aiello, owner of a heating and plumbing business for the past five years.
"I trust her 100 percent — she knows what's she's doing," he said.
Aside from a new logo, different wall hangings and a fresh coat of paint, Aiello's has the same cozy feel as Otto's with a similar menu that Stephanie Aiello is gradually calling her own.
"Everything I kept [from Otto's] I tweaked," she said.
Aiello looks to expanded her healthy choice options that currently includes the healthy nut omelet — egg whites only — with spinach and mushrooms. She also expects to add gluten-free items. Starting in March, she will offer daily specials.
Aiello's has three part-time and four full-time employees, with occasional help from Stephanie's husband and daughter, Gianna. The restaurant is open daily from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., and from 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sundays. Breakfast is served all day.
Contact Dick Lindsay at 413-496-6233